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Survey of attitudes of senior emergency physicians towards the introduction of emergency department ultrasound
  1. R E McLaughlin1,
  2. A Lee1,
  3. S Clenaghan1,
  4. S McGovern1,
  5. C Martyn1,
  6. J Bowra2
  1. 1Emergency Department, Ulster Hospital, Belfast, UK;
  2. 2Emergency Department, Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R E McLaughlin
 Ulster Hospital, Belfast, UK;


Introduction: Emergency department ultrasound (EDU) is widely practised in the USA, Australia, parts of Europe, and Asia. EDU has been used in the UK since the late 1990s but as yet, few areas have established a practice.

Objectives: To assess the current climate of opinion with respect to the practice, constraints, and establishment of EDU among emergency department (ED) consultants on the island of Ireland.

Methods: A postal questionnaire was formulated, piloted, and assessed for ambiguity by a sample of ED consultants and an independent non-ED consultant, prior to being mailed to all ED consultants in Ireland.

Results: Of the 58 consultants canvassed 46 (79%) responded. Of the respondents, 40 (87%) strongly agreed/agreed that EDU is appropriate and should be performed in the ED. Of these, 3 (7%) are currently performing EDU; 37 (80%) have not had formal training in EDU, however 42 (91%) support the establishment of national guidelines for training in focused ultrasound in the ED. Problems instituting EDU were often multifactorial. Commonly highlighted difficulties included financial issues (24 respondents, 52%) and radiology department support (16 respondents, 34%). Other cited problems include varying interdepartmental practices (15 respondents, 33%) and (for some EDs) low numbers of patients requiring EDU, with projected difficulties in skills maintenance.

Conclusion: Despite the vast majority of ED consultants being in favour of EDU, very few actually perform it on a regular basis or have had any formal training. Highlighted difficulties in EDU implementation included financial constraints, lack of support from radiology departments, and lack of formal training.

  • ED, emergency department
  • EDU, emergency department ultrasound
  • Attitudes
  • department
  • emergency
  • ultrasound
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  • Competing interests: none declared

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